I'm an extremely social person: I was voted my high school's Social Coordinator years in a row, I love hosting dinner parties, going to events, and even staff meetings. I am far from a loner and benefit deeply from the company of others. When I'm sick I'm not one of those people that insists on being alone. Rather, I want someone there to hold my hand and take pity on me, as my dear friend Kevin Bruyneel has done on many occasions over the past 30 years.
When I was in my early 20s I spent little time alone. I was always going out for dinner and to clubs with my friends. My wise friend Sonya Chang said to me "Soph, the reason most people don't like to be alone is because it forces them to look at themselves." I took that to heart and ever since I've cherished my time alone, particularly as a mother. And I work hard at self-analysis, self-criticism, and self-renewal.
But being alone does not equate to being lonely, which I never truly experienced until my marriage. And let me tell you, there's no deeper loneliness than that of being in a relationship and feeling the emotional distance from your partner. I remember when my kids were really young I would have them in bed by 7pm and I would sit twiddling my thumbs, feeling so isolated, wondering when my ex would be home. And this was before Netflix, so I didn't even have that trusted companion. Of course my friends were incredibly supportive, but my ex was my best friend, my partner, and the father of my children, and he simply wasn't present in any way.
When I became single I started going out dancing again and it was incredible. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the connection to other people through music and how much I expressed myself through dance. What's so odd is that nothing was stopping me from going out when I was married. Why didn't I make arrangements to see my friends more and go out? My ex would have had no issue with it whatsoever. Part of it was that I was just dumb tired with two small children, but that wasn't the whole reason. And I don't have a good answer.
All I know is that I never want to feel that again.